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Why was the Plague of the Firstborn precisely at the stroke of midnight?

by Mrs. Dinka Kumer

  

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The punishment must fit the crime. Each of the Ten Plagues corresponded to some method of torment that the Egyptians made the Jews suffer. Smiting the firstborn at midnight came to repay the Egyptians for having woken the Jewish slave laborers to begin their work in the middle of the night.

Additionally, according to Kabbalah, the first half of the night, before midnight, is when G-d’s attribute of justice and severity is predominant. This is manifested by the skies become progressively darker. The second half, after midnight, is when G-d’s attribute of kindness is at the fore, and the skies become progressively brighter towards morning. The night is divided into two opposites: withholding versus giving; dark versus light, punishment versus reward.

However, the instant of midnight is a moment which G-d alone can identify, since we cannot pinpoint time, always finding ourselves a nanosecond before or after midnight. Any moment which seems to be midnight can be further divided into two – half of that moment being before midnight and half afterwards. Likewise, midnight can neither be a time of divine justice nor of kindness. The night’s midpoint supersedes these opposites. It is a moment that fuses and transcends both of them.

Midnight expresses G-d’s way of relating to the world above and beyond the natural system of reward and punishment. At midnight, it did not matter whether or not the Jewish people deserved to be saved. When G-d spared His people from death at the stroke of midnight, He expressed His essential love for them—a love of His children which transcends all calculations of justice or reward.1

Footnotes

  • 1. Likutei Sichot, volume 3, page 824 on Parshat Bo

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COMMENTS

DEATH OF THE FIRST BORN

Posted by: Dennis Gorsky, Cathedral CITY, CA on Apr 17, 2006

I need to know why the the Pharoah Ramases was not killed when all the first born of Egypt were all killed when the the fog of the angel of death came to the villages on the evening which is now known as Passover. He was the first born son was he not?

Editor's Comment

Pharaoh was the one who originally blasphemously denied G-d's ability and consequently refused to follow His order to release the Jews. G-d, therefore, spared him so he would witness G-d's full might at the splitting of the sea.

Passover/ The Exodus

Posted by: Curious on Nov 10, 2006

Did the Exodus occur the same night the death angel passed over Egypt?

Editor's Comment

correct

RELATED CATEGORIES

History » Egypt

Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.